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Old 02-01-2018, 09:43 AM   #1
jeremy
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Stephen Walli, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft - Ask Him Anything


Have you ever wanted to ask someone who deeply understands and has participated in open source for a long time, has sold a company to Microsoft and is now a Principal Program Manager there, a frank question about related topics and get a straightforward answer? This is your chance.

This opportunity came about as a result of the latest episode of Bad Voltage. I suggest listening to the segment before asking, as your question may have already been answered.

Steph was one of the founders of Softway Systems, which was acquired by Microsoft in 1999. Their product was merged into Services for UNIX, and Steph spent the next five and a half years at Microsoft as a Product Unit Manager and then Business Development Manager. After a variety of roles elsewhere (Optaros, Outercurve, HP, Docker, and more), heís now back at Microsoft as a Principal Program Manager, working in the Azure team on various open source related initiatives. After co-presenting in episode 2x25 Steph has kindly agreed to do an AMA-style discussion here. With the current transition ongoing and a changing attitude toward open source at Microsoft, Iím sure there are many questions. Please be civil.

Thanks, Steph!

Ėjeremy
 
Old 02-01-2018, 11:52 AM   #2
jsbjsb001
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What exactly does Microsoft's "open source strategy" involve?

For example, which Microsoft services, API's, apps, etc is Microsoft planning to bring to Linux, that hasn't yet been made available by Microsoft on Linux?
(eg. Microsoft Office, DirectX, etc)

Where does Microsoft think it's "open source strategy" will take it? Is the above the main "crux" or "pillar" of it?

Does Stephen Walli miss the UNIX style command-line?
 
Old 02-03-2018, 07:40 AM   #3
Crippled
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What's Microsoft's real reasons and motives for getting involved in Linux?
 
Old 02-06-2018, 04:01 AM   #4
stephenrwalli
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Microsoft Open Source Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbjsb001 View Post
What exactly does Microsoft's "open source strategy" involve?

...
Where does Microsoft think it's "open source strategy" will take it? Is the above the main "crux" or "pillar" of it?

Does Stephen Walli miss the UNIX style command-line?
I do not miss the UNIX command-line because I use it on my Mac every day.
The Microsoft engagement with open source is an evolution of its focus on developers.
The company has always been about developers, and mostly developer led over its history.
Open source is clearly important to developers in their use of languages and tools and platforms.
Microsoft has shifted to align with what developers say is important.

At the same time, Microsoft's own direct experience is growing in project big and small. TypeScript, .NET Core, and VS Code are all large projects with vibrant communities.
Even smaller projects like ghcrawler garner community attention. The Linux team in Azure continues to participate in the kernel community. The Azure containers teams continue to participate in Docker and Kubernetes.

I believe Microsoft's engagement in open source communities will continue to grow. It's why I came back.
 
Old 02-06-2018, 04:11 AM   #5
stephenrwalli
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Microsoft and Linux

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crippled View Post
What's Microsoft's real reasons and motives for getting involved in Linux?
Microsoft customers want to run Linux on Azure as much as they want to run Windows. Microsoft is serving its customers. Developers care about Linux as much as they care about Windows. Microsoft has always been a developer focused company. To best serve developers and customers, Microsoft developers need to participate in the communities building the software we use so as to demonstrate credibility. Microsoft needs to contribute changes to the kernel we use, because the engineering economics of living on a fork are expensive. We contribute back for the same reasons Red Hat, SuSE, and Canonical contribute back.
 
Old 02-08-2018, 02:28 AM   #6
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenrwalli View Post
I do not miss the UNIX command-line because I use it on my Mac every day.
The Microsoft engagement with open source is an evolution of its focus on developers.
The company has always been about developers, and mostly developer led over its history.
Open source is clearly important to developers in their use of languages and tools and platforms.
Microsoft has shifted to align with what developers say is important.

At the same time, Microsoft's own direct experience is growing in project big and small. TypeScript, .NET Core, and VS Code are all large projects with vibrant communities.
Even smaller projects like ghcrawler garner community attention. The Linux team in Azure continues to participate in the kernel community. The Azure containers teams continue to participate in Docker and Kubernetes.

I believe Microsoft's engagement in open source communities will continue to grow. It's why I came back.
First, thanks for your reply.

Glad you still use the UNIX command-line, great tool isn't it?

I just have a few questions regarding Microsoft's previous stance on Linux;

First, when you say Microsoft is "developer led", was this the case when Steve Ballmer was CEO?
As I read something very interesting, in that, Steve Ballmer seems to have changed his stance on Linux;

From http://www.zdnet.com/article/ballmer...now-i-love-it/

Quote:
Eleven years before that, shortly after taking the helm at Microsoft, Ballmer said, "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."
Are you saying the above quote is not true or that it was at the time but isn't anymore? What's changed?

I have the same questions about Microsoft's "get the facts" campaign;

Quote:
As you weigh the costs and risks of Windows and Linux, consider this: More and more independent analysts and leading companies find that Windows Server System outperforms Linux on TCO, reliability, security, and indemnification. ... Get in-depth and objective analysis on Microsoft...
I had to get the above quote from Google, given that if I follow the link, I get this:

Quote:
We are sorry, the page you requested cannot be found.

The URL may be misspelled or the page you're looking for is no longer available.
So, for another question, is Linux as secure as Windows or more secure, in your opinion? Do you think (or ever did) that Windows "outperforms" Linux, in any of the other category's mentioned above?
 
Old 02-08-2018, 07:58 AM   #7
jeremy
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@jsbjsb001, I asked a couple of those questions on this show. May be worth a listen if you're interested.

--jeremy
 
Old 02-08-2018, 08:33 AM   #8
rokytnji
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Well. This country boy had to read up on Azure first. Before posting. First thing I noticed. They are using Git Hub. Which surprised me a little.

https://github.com/Azure

Cloud computing sites has bit me in the kiester, on file deletion in the past. With no input from me. So I quit using it.
Invested in using personal Hard copy hardware instead.

Already see warning sign words . Just my personal opinion.
Citation: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/ov...edium=referral

Quote:
Greater customer choice
But. I also realize service costs suit some user preferences/requirements. Not this personal user in the Mexican border desert. I guess I have no questions. Not being really smart enough on knowing what to ask. But nice to see this thread in place. Howdy and Welcome.

Tried listening to the show. My brain lost track about 1/2 way in. I am not GPL savvy. The English accents throw me . Like I would throw them off, being from West Texas.

Last edited by rokytnji; 02-08-2018 at 08:36 AM.
 
Old 02-12-2018, 12:09 PM   #9
stephenrwalli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbjsb001 View Post
First, thanks for your reply.
I just have a few questions regarding Microsoft's previous stance on Linux;
...
So, for another question, is Linux as secure as Windows or more secure, in your opinion? Do you think (or ever did) that Windows "outperforms" Linux, in any of the other category's mentioned above?
Twenty years ago, Microsoft was the Windows company. That was their platform in a UNIX-centric server world that was moving towards Linux. Executive opinions were quoted. Those executives have all moved onto other things, and the marketplace has shifted, led by developers building new solutions to new problems. The TCO arguments that were used then are from a playbook that every vendor runs at some point, trying to justify their solution to cost-sensitive customers based on costs alone. You can see Oracle and SuSE try to run the same play against Red Hat at different times. I'm sure we'll all see the TCO arguments again at some point.

Gates was a developer first, as is Nadella now. Ballmer had a business background, but even he famously, loudly proclaimed on stage his understanding and support of the importance of developers.

The datacenter is 50/50 Windows and Linux at this point. Some companies's have different ratios but in the end there are a large set of developers solving problems on Windows and another large group solving them on Linux. As Microsoft builds Azure out, we will go where our customers and developers take us.

Security is a set of practices, experiences, and tooling. Every vendor worth their customers works diligently to ensure they're protecting their customers. The attack vectors for Windows server and RHEL, SLES, and Ubuntu are different, and I expect Microsoft, Red Hat, SuSE, and Canonical work diligently to protect their customers. That's the reality. I don't think Windows is more or less secure than RHEL. They're different. I do believe each company stands firmly behind their products.
 
Old 02-20-2018, 08:32 AM   #10
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
@jsbjsb001, I asked a couple of those questions on this show. May be worth a listen if you're interested.

--jeremy
Hi Jeremy,

Sorry for the late reply - I hadn't forgotten about it, just didn't have the time to reply.

You sound different to what I was expecting, I thought you would have a deeper American voice - I **think** it's your voice I'm thinking of. I didn't realize that there was no video, just audio, you's should get it on video Jeremy.

I will admit that I've only listened to half of it so far, but will try and catch the rest later on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Walli
We've been humbled by the Justice department... we've been humbled by the EU
Didn't expect to hear that. ...or should it be the other way around?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Walli
Microsoft has had to come through that learning curve
I believe him. I doubt it's all just "developer led" tho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Walli
that is clearly not our community... earning the respect of that community by that community's rules
Well, yes, on both counts. Do you think it's working Jeremy?

I've gotta say that while it does seem like Microsoft have realized that their can't just ignore and/or try to push Linux aside, I don't get the feeling that their intentions are all pure. Yeah, I could be wrong and that's fine if I am, but it doesn't sound like it to me.
 
  


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